What Is Upcycling, Anyway?

There is a word that seems to be occurring with greater frequency in our Twitter feed lately: “upcycling.”

In fact just this week “upcycling” occurred in one of Anderson Cooper’s tweets, and was apparently featured on his new talk show earlier this week.  Here’s a blog post that includes a video clip of Danny Seo, “Green Living” expert and bestselling author of Simply Green and other books, explaining what “upcycling” means to him, and showing examples of the objects he’s created from what might have been trash.

I did a little further research and found that, according to Wikipedia “the first recorded use of the term was by Reiner Pilz of Pilz GmbH in an interview by Thornton Kay of Salvo in 1994.” I also found a helpful post at Naturally Savvy.com that further explains and clarifies the history of the term.  (“To put it simply, downcycling reduces the quality of the materials, while upcycling maintains or improves the quality of the materials,”  Cara Smusiak, author of the post, neatly summarizes.)

This GAIAMlife post has lots of information about various ways to upcycle,  either yourself or by “outsourcing” it to companies that will either create new products for you for a price–for example, stuffed animals from old cashmere sweaters–or will actually pay you for sending them items such as empty drink pouches, potato chip bags, energy bar wrappers and other packaging waste that they then upcycle.

If you know of other interesting and useful sources for information about upcycling, please share them with us and our readers by commenting on this post. It’s kind of an interesting new phenomenon!



One Response

  1. Upcycling is often referred to as a re-design. It is about alleged “waste products” that are a creative process to more beneficial products. Examples can be found in fashion, furniture or bags made ​​from recycled materials like old clothes, fabric remaining stocks, table cloths and other materials used or surplus. The imagination knows no boundaries, e.g. are from the old phone booths or stylish shower hoses or car from Bengal cement bags are hip pockets. Fascinating and unique

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